Revere's Rides: April 16, 1775 - April 19, 1775
On the same day that Paul Revere was bringing his warning to John Hancock and Samuel Adams in Lexington, Lt. General Thomas Gage received orders from Secretary of State Dartmouth to to take definitive action to put down the building rebellion by arresting its leaders. He knew that arresting members of the rebel Massachusetts Provincial Congress would be a large drain on manpower, especially with the adjournment of body the day before. However, in response to Dartmouth's letter, he decided that a move on the colonial stores at Concord would minimize the risk of violent rebellion.
On April 18, 1775, General Gage still did not reveal his intentions. He informed Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith of his selection as commander of the expedition but did not inform him of the objective. At 9 P.M. that evening, troops were roused from bed having no knowledge of where they were going. It was at this time that the officers finally learned of the objective. The attempts at secrecy failed.because at 9:30 P.M. that evening, William Dawes left from the home of Dr. Joseph Warren with dispatches of warning for John Hancock and Concord. He was to leave the city by the longer land route. At 10:00 P.M. Paul Revere set out on his now-famous Midnight Ride with the same messages and would attempt to leave by crossing the Charles River to Charlestown.
Revere managed to elude British patrols and with the help of a couple of friends, he rowed across the Charles River. When he reached Charlestown, the local militia was already in action since they had seen the signal in the North Chruch steeple. Revere then borrowed a horse and set out for Lexington. He encountered two British officers just past the intersection of the Medford and Cambridge roads. He managed to elude them, but was detoured onto the longer Medford road.
Revere finally reached Lexington and the Clarke house sometime after midnight.Lexington militia Sergent William Munroe was guarding the house. He did not recognize Revere and told him to keep down the noise because the residents had retired for the evening. Revere replied, "Noise. You will have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out." He was then allowed by and he knocked on the door. First, Reverend Clarke and then John Hancock came out. Revere gave his report. John Parker, Captain of the Lexington minutemen, was sent for.
Soon after, William Dawes finally arrived. After a brief rest and freshing their horses, the pair set out for Concord. En route, they were overtaken by Dr. Samuel Prescott, who was a resident of Concord. At around 1 A.M., they encountered a number of British officers and were captured. Prescott quickly escaped. Dawes also managed to escape. Revere made a run for it, but was recaptured. By the time Revere returned to Reverend Clarke's house at about 3 A.M., the house and the Common were bustling with activity in preparation for the arrival of the British regulars.
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